17th century seduction

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    I was recently reading Robert Greene’s classic book The 48 Laws of Power and came across the chapter on hiding your intention.

    Greene shares a story of a young french nobleman in the 17th century who wanted to win the heart of a beautiful countess. He sought advice from an experience courtesan who had a reputation for seduction.

    I thought the story was something we could all learn from. I found a version online, which I’ll share below:

    Marquis De Sevigne was a handsome 22 year old… but he was hopeless when it came to women.

    He was having difficulty seducing a beautiful young countess, so he went to the 62 year old courtesan Nino de L’Enclos – (who had lived a very colorful life and was much experienced in the matters of seduction) – for some advice.

    Ninon de L’Enclos took him under her wing and decided to show him what he could do to seduce the beautiful young countess.

    The present situation was that the countess already knew that Marquis was interested in her sexually, but she was not interested in him. A.K.A. The classic friendzone scenario.

    She told him to first approach the countess in a somewhat casual manner, and confide in her as a friend would – seeming somewhat distant and uninterested in her sexually.

    The purpose behind this was to mask his intentions towards her, so that the countess would now be unsure as to whether or not Marquis was still attracted to her. And because of this, she would no longer take his interest for granted.

    Once the countess was confused, the next step according to Ninon, was to make her jealous.

    At Marquis’s next encounter with the countess (an important festival in Paris) Marquis would show up with another beautiful women on his arm.

    And this young and beautiful women, also had many beautiful friends. So whenever the young countess would see Marquis out and about in Paris, he would always be surrounded by a swarm of beautiful women.

    This would serve to make the countess jealous and also make her feel that Marquis was a man who other women desired.

    Now with countess jealous, and intrigued by Marquis, his next move according to Ninon was to confuse her.

    He would not attend social events that the countess would expect him to be at, and he would show up out of the blue at places where the countess would not be expecting to see him.

    All of which served to give Marquis an air of mystery about him.

    And all of Ninon’s advice to Marquis was working. She was starting to ask other people questions about him, and showing a great deal of interest in him. She was falling under his spell.

    Marquis finally got the countess alone at her house, and he was certain that he had won her over by this point. (And he had!)

    But being on his own, without the advice of Ninon to help him, Marquis made a massive blunder.

    He took the countess by the hand and confessed his love for her.

    The countess seemed confused, pulled away, and politely excused herself. After that, any attraction that the countess had felt for Marquis quickly vanished and anytime that they spent together after this results in a very awkward atmosphere.

    The attraction was gone for good.

    It’s so interesting to see that the classic seduction tactics (and mistakes) don’t change.

    My own takeaway from this is not to get too hung up on one person when there are plenty of women around!

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